September 9, 2010

The announcement by Google of their imminent Instant search update is a strange and potentially confusing development of the much loved/hated search engine.

Instead of prompting you with search results as you complete the search box, Google have determined that they can guess what you’re looking for and, instead, the actual search results will appear as you type. No more clicking on ‘Search’ (and where did ‘Feeling Lucky’ go?) just type away and see what Google thinks you’re searching for.

Now we predict a number of potential issues here ranging from touch typists being exposed to a strobe lighting effect to those amongst us who stare at the keyboard when typing not even seeing what’s going on!

What is stranger is that Google Instant will be predicting your search from the first letter. This is surely an opportunity to ‘manipulate’ search requests and results. How long until “rickrolling” manages to get Rick Astley to the forefront of all searches starting ‘R’ or ‘A’? And, worse still, how long until ‘S’ takes you back to the early days of Google and all results had reference to ‘sex’?

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Google’s intention has always been stated as providing relevant results but at the demo event when the letter ‘W’ was pressed, the search pages showed weather related information… how many people start a search with “what” and have no interest in the weather?

And what happens with those unfortunate spelling mistakes? Will we ever dare search online to buy clothes at FCUK again?

From a commercial perspective this certainly allows Google to display multiple adverts as you type your search but how will it affect all the Search Engine Optimisation companies and gurus who have channeled years of learning into words and phrases but now their income and future literally rests on the press of a button (or letter!).

Not everything Google is good and eventually there has to be a major ‘faux pas’… it could be yours in an Instant.

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Last updated: September 10, 2010 at 5:08 pm